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The CitizenHouse.eu: 360 degree resource for citizens to learn, share and take initiatives.

Date

30 Mar 2012

European citizens have more rights and more ways to claim them than they imagine. From 1 April a new collective right of initiative is added:

Over 1 million European citizens from a minimum of 7 EU member states can request the European Commission to present legislation within its competence. Even with social media, this is a huge task. The citizens committee can use the Commission website, numerous guides and a contact point. There is though a clear need for a citizens’ infrastructure and independent help desk.

Citizenshouse.eu responds to such a need as a one-stop shop to solve problems. There is no clear European Charter of enforceable citizens’ rights. Ways to defend them are scattered across different institutions and departments. This new service brings together access to documents, complaints, petitions to the European Parliament, requests to the European Ombudsman and citizens’ initiatives. To enforce European rights or influence the European agenda, it is not obvious which procedure or combination of procedures to use. Promoters of citizens’ initiatives need a wide range of advice on legal competence, campaigning, fundraising, networking and compliance with a still over complex set of European and national rules.

Issues currently on the website and getting active support include:

-  European Citizens’ Initiatives: Media Pluralism, Water as a Human Right, Social Innovation, “One Seat” for the European Parliament, the right to basic income

-  Petitions to the European Parliament: “We, the friends of Greece”, public access to documents, “More democracy in Europe”

- Complaints to the European Ombudsman: on access to documents regarding opt-outs to the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights

Citizens need to start using and supporting this new agenda setting right. Only by taking action can citizens be sure their real issues of concern will hit the EU spotlight.

Further links:

-  www.CitizenHouse.eu

-  Latest ECIs

-  “European Citizens’ Initiatives: On the Starting Line” Event

-  ECI Regulation

-  Commission ECI Website and Official Register

-  Commission "Point of contact"

For further information, please contact

Tony Venables

t.venables@ecas.org

+32 (2) 548 98 26

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